WASHINGTON (CN) – Senate Republicans blocked a bill Thursday that would aid small businesses by cutting taxes and making credit available.
“This is as American as apple pie,” President Obama told an audience in New Jersey this week before the failed Senate vote. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy….They are going to lead this recovery….Surely, Democrats and Republicans ought to be able to agree on this bill.”
But the Senate voted 58-42 in favor of closing debate on the bill, falling short of the 60 votes needed to bring it to a final vote. No Republicans voted in favor of moving the bill forward, while Democrats voted unanimously in favor of advancing the bill.
The vote blocks $12 billion in tax breaks to small businesses.
The bill, officially called the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, would eliminate capital gains taxes for investments made by small businesses and increase tax deductions for new equipment and other expenses.
The bill also would waive fees on Small Business Administration loans and create a $30 billion small business lending fund within the Treasury Department to ease up credit.
Republicans complained that Democrats refused to consider Republican amendments on the bill. Since the bill was introduced June 29, Republicans have asked for eight amendments.
“You have to go out of your way to make a small business bill controversial,” Senate minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before the vote. “But they’ve pulled if off.”
McConnell accused Democrats of taking up the issue shortly before the August recess “so they have something to talk about” when they go home.
Democrats said Republicans were denying crucial support to small businesses, which they said are the engine to economic recovery.
“Most people think that jobs come from General Motors and AT&T and those huge companies, but that’s not true,” Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. “Probably 80 percent of all jobs in America come from small business.”
The vote deals Senate Democrats a setback from making further legislative progress in the period leading up to November elections, as the measure is unlikely to go through before Congress adjourns for its August recess.